Edmonton Workshop June 8-9 Notes

by Steven Cheng on 2019/06/10

For this year’s Edmonton workshop we worked a lot on positive circle concepts and stretching.

  • Worked on a partner drill stretching the torso and chest back while stretching the hand forward with a partner providing resistance on the hand.  This reminded me of To Withdraw Is To Issue
    • We were working on isolating the stretch between the back/chest area and the hand/forearm and ignoring other stretches or rotations
    • We were told to lean backward until we felt that we were off balance to get the proper amount of backward stretch
    • The stretch has to be equal in both directions to create the third point
    • To train the backward stretch further, we put our backs a short distance away from a wall or a door frame and had to stretch backward until our backs touched the frame
    • We had a rotation drill using “Step Back to Mount the Tiger” from Yilu, working on the transition to the next move.  Stickers were placed on the mirror, we would align our shoulder.
    • After the initial 90 degree turn, we would continue the movement into a 360 degree turn.  The aim was that the shoulder should still be on the sticker at the end of the turn.
  • Several examples with physical objects
    • If you have a long pole, you can lift whole the pole with two fingers if you are exactly in the middle, if you are off then one end will stay on the ground.  If we are off just a bit in our movements the same thing will happen to us.
    • Using a board that has a screw in the middle of an edge.
      • If someone is pushing down on both ends, and you balance the force, the board will stand on the screw head and can be moved freely.
      • If you change the balance, one end will go down into the table and stop movement
      • We can use either of these structures depending on the situation
    • With a pole that has a weight on one end
      • If you find the centre point you can lift the whole pole again
      • There was another example here that I forgot before I made notes
    • With a short rod (Taji bang) and a board and someone holding the board with two hands
      • If someone tries to push the board forward in different directions, the rod can be precisely placed to stop the movement
      • We normally don’t position the rod precisely, in this case the rod slides off the board
      • To do this properly is “zhuo” to adhere
  • Discussions
    • An ancient apple might have many different characteristics from modern apples, it may be smaller, more sour ..etc, but both have an essential quality that makes them the same
      • Comparison with Taiji in ancient and modern times
    • The commonly repeated Taiji idea of starting with large circles and shrinking them to small ones over time is wrong because what most people see as a large circle is not a rotation.  If a large circle rotates and a small circle rotates then they are both rotations, size does not matter.  Thinking about larger or small will not help us produce true rotations.
    • Long term thinking is required for Taiji and life, my interpretation is as long as your aim is clear, unfortunate obstacles and misdirections will end up helping you
  • Yilu practice and corrections
    • Move parallel to the floor when evening out weight, after transitions like the first shovel step in Yilu
    • Do not straighten the arms in the transition between pounding mortar and Cross Hands, don’t make extra movements.  Make sure the wrist is straight.
    • In Cross Hands keep the crossing point at your centre
    • When performing Fist Draping Over Body stretch the elbow in arm out, it should not be tight and close in to the body
    • Stretch all elbow-in postures, the front hand in initial closing, the sequence from brush the knee to flash the back, fist under elbow and Rotate Forearm while Step Back

About Steven Cheng

Studied on Daqingshan in 2006

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